Real-life Wakanda

Colleen McMenamin, Staff Writer

Okoj Okello is transforming his once destroyed Ugandan village into a real-life Wakanda. Instead of vibranium, they profit off shea butter from naturally occurring shea trees. 

Okello, who is the founder of Okere City, saw the advantage of the natural resources available in his once impoverished rural town. After the Uganda Civil war, Okere was destroyed until recently, in 2019. The city went through a rapid change and now includes a school, health clinic, bank, church, nightclub, and community hall all on its five hundred acre plot of land. All of this is powered through solar energy, which is also powering the houses of the four thousand residents of the city. Before the growth of this city, outbreaks of cholera ran rampant throughout, however now it is very rare due to the clean water that is available from a nearby and newly built borehole.

Okoj Okello first came up with this idea after coming back to Okere, where he was born and left as a baby. He was inspired by the residents and wanted to create a project to benefit them. Referring to the project he says, “I want us to be responsible for shaping the destiny and the future of the project.”

Okello pictures with kids who live in Okere (

Okello’s inspiration for the funding of the town came from the Marvel movie, “Black Panther” because as he says “I  thought about Wakanda and Black Panther, they had vibranium, this shea tree could be our vibranium…I’m going to invest everything within my means to tap this resource, to protect [it], and to use it to emancipate my community”

According to their 2020 annual report, the city continues to grow, and they recently added a boxing team and supermarket. In 2021 they plan to expand the school system, strengthen their banks, and build office spaces.